Bubble Banter opens with 41 teams on the bubble

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Bubble Banter highlights the teams we believe are on the NCAA Bubble. If a team isn’t listed, they aren’t a bubble team at the time of the update. 

An amazing 41 teams begin the countdown as bubble teams.  Even more could have listed, and teams will come and go over the next few weeks.  To be eligible for consideration, a team had to be within the Top 100 of the RPI, and be close enough to the cutline to warrant serious consideration.  A team like South Carolina, for example, has two quality wins, but fell to No. 105 in the RPI after the loss to Auburn.  Thus, we did not include USC in this update as no team with an RPI rating that high has ever been selected as an at-large candidate.

Note:  RPI and SOS data is credited to CollegeRPI.com.  Follow along at Bracketville.

UPDATED: February 1

Automatic Bids (31): None decided | Total Spots (68): Number of total teams in the Field.

  • Projected Locks (11): Teams who project to have secured a spot in the 2011 NCAA Tournament witihout a major collapse. Some of these projected locks may become automatic qualifiers should they win their conference tournament.
  • Should Be In (17): While not yet locks, these are teams in good position to receive an at-large bid.
  • Bubble: (41): Teams projected to be at or near the cutline for being selected as at-large candidates.
  • Spots available (15): Number of available openings for the bracket based on spots reserved for automatic qualifiers, projected locks, and teams projected as Should Be In at this update.

Below is a conference breakdown of the bubble picture.

Atlantic 10
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Temple, Xavier | Bubble: Duquesne, Rhode Island, Richmond
  • Duquesne (14-5) | RPI: 76 | SOS: 144 | – Despite a poor RPI, Duquesne opens Bubble Banter tied with Xavier atop the A-10 – including a win over Temple. Nothing to report in the non-conference season, and the Dukes’ overall SOS is a concern. Still, we can’t ignore a team that’s 7-0 in the No. 8-rated conference.
  • Rhode Island (13-8) | RPI: 82 | SOS: 95 | – Like a lot of teams, the Rams have been a mixed bag. Good wins include Boston College, at Richmond, and vs. Charleston. There’s also the losses to Quinnipiac and UIC, and a blowout loss at Xaver. URI must vault to the top of the A-10 standings.
  • Richmond (16-6) | RPI: 60 | SOS: 90 | – Spiders are hoping the non-conference win over Purdue holds a lot of weight. Richmond also won at Seton Hall and beat VCU. The lopsided home loss to Xavier is troubling and puts the Spiders two games back of the Muskateers.
ACC
Locks: Duke | Should Be In: North Carolina | Bubble: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Virginia Tech
  • Boston College (14-7) | RPI: 38 | SOS: 26 | – The Eagles are an RPI oddity: Numbers are good, but the overall resume suggests work ahead. BC’s win over Texas Am early is notable, as was a good road win at Maryland to open ACC play. At the same time, BC has lost (at home) to two Ivy League schools and has dropped 3 of its past 4 games.
  • Clemson (15-6) | RPI: 69 | SOS: 100 | The Tigers make the bubble with a 4-3 ACC mark, but other than home wins over Florida State and Miami, the resume is light. Clemson has non-league losses to Old Dominion, Michigan, and South Carolina. It’ll take a strong month for the Tigers to be a serious at-large contender.
  • Florida State (15-6) | RPI: 50 | SOS: 75 | – Seminoles were only be a week away from moving into Should Be In status before another lopsided road loss – this time to Clemson. Baylor is their best non-ACC win, and the Bears have struggled. While the loss at Auburn was probably a fluke, it’s an example of inconsistent play. FSU also lost to a struggling Butler team in Hawaii. The win over Duke is big, but not enough by itself.
  • Maryland (14-7) | RPI: 70 | SOS: 63 | – Can the Terps make another February run? That’s the question. Other than an early win at Penn Sate, Maryland is void of anything out-of-conference, and the ACC is down. The closing schedule is favorable, but it will take a good finish for the Terps to contend. Game with Duke (at home) is huge.
  • Virginia Tech (14-6) | RPI: 68 | SOS: 80 | – Yet again the Hokies find themselves on the bubble, and an underwhelming non-conference profile is the biggest reason. Credit VT with playing a much better schedule, the Hokies just failed to win many of the games – the best is over fellow bubble-dweller Oklahoma State. It also hurts that VT sees Duke, North Carolina, and FSU only once in league play. Must stay with the contenders.
BIG EAST
Locks: Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Villanova | Should Be In: Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville,West Virginia | Bubble: Cincinnati, Marquette, St. John’s
  • Cincinnati (18-4) | RPI: 46 | SOS: 128 | – As we’ve mentioned before, the Bearcats’ dreadful non-conference SOS (No. 289) leaves UC with little margin for error in the Big East. Last week’s road win at St. John’s was huge because Cincy has won most of its games at home. The closing stretch will be a challenge and it’s important for UC to stay above the fray.
  • Marquette (14-8) | RPI: 59 | SOS: 32 | – Marquette may be better than its record, but the Golden Eagles best wins have been at home, and a tough three-game road stretch is just on the horizon. Wins over Notre Dame and West Virginia help, and the Eagles’ worst loss is an early-neutral court game vs. Gonzaga. The rest have been to Top 50 RPI teams.
  • St. John’s (12-8) | RPI: 23 | SOS: 3 | – The Red Storm has some very good wins – none better than Sunday’s dominating win over Duke. There’s also a roadie at West Virgina. SJU owns the nation’s No. 3 rated overall SOS. That will help. The question is … can St. John’s win enough games down the stretch? A cross-country road trip to UCLA won’t be easy.
BIG 10
Locks: Ohio State | Should Be In: Purdue, Wisconsin, Minnesota | Bubble: Illinois, Michigan State Penn State
  • Illinois (14-7) | RPI: 39 | SOS: 24 | The Illini have lost 4 of 5 games which included dropping a second-half lead vs. Ohio State and an ugly effort at Indiana. The upcoming schedule is favorable for a rebound, but UI is at a critical juncture. Good wins include N. Carolina and Wisconsin, along with Michigan State. The loss at UIC is a sore point.
  • Michigan State (12-8) | RPI: 36 | SOS: 5 | It’s worth noting that the Spartans have played the nation’s No. 5 schedule and No. 18 non-conference schedule. MSU has also avoided any bad RPI losses – even though the home loss to Michigan was a bit shocking. With Korie Lucious dismissed for the season, the Spartans need to re-prove they are an NCAA team without him. Much like Illinois, MSU needs to start winning again.
  • Penn State (12-8) | RPI: 44 | SOS: 6 | – The Nittany Lions have been a tough out in the Big 10 and have rebounded nicely from a lackluster non-conference effort that included a home loss to Maine. Good wins include Michigan State, Illinois, and Wisconsin – at home. While close, PSU has yet to win a meaningful road game. That may have to change. The closing stretch is tough, but offers PSU some opportunities.
BIG 12
Locks: Kansas, Texas | Should Be In: Missouri, Texas AM | Bubble: Kansas State, Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma State
  • Baylor (14-6) | RPI: 81 | SOS: 82 | – What the Bears have done is be very average. Nothing stands out to separate Baylor from any number of other teams. Best wins are Oklahoma State and Colorado at home. Neither are certain NCAA teams. Out of conference, the Bears failed to win a Top 100 RPI game and their non-league SOS ranks No. 236. No one questions the Bears’ talent, it’s whether they can win enought Big 12 games at this point.
  • Colorado (13-8) | RPI: 94 | SOS: 114 | – In back-to-back games, the Buffaloes beat Missouri at home and K-State on the road. Since, Colorado has lost four of five and four straight – including games at Nebraska and Oklahoma. A non-league win over Colorado State is notable, but overall the Buffs non-conference SOS ranks No. 307. That spells trouble. Colorado has remaining chances to win big games, they’ll need as many as they can get.
  • Kansas State (13-8) | RPI: 41 | SOS: 15 | – The Wildcats opened the season No. 3 in national polls. Ever since, there have been more questions than answers. First, K-State needs to improve its 2-5 mark in the Big 12. Next, they need to beat a Top 50 RPI opponent – KSU is currently 0-6 vs. such teams. Other than that, the power numbers are workable. More than anything, K-State needs to start winning games, they’ve dropped 5 of 7.
  • Oklahoma State (14-7) | RPI: 58 | SOS: 64 | – Cowboys, like K-State are 2-5 now in league play, so compiling wins is most important. Winning a meaningful game away from home would help too as OSU is 2-5 in true road games. Best wins are Kansas State and Missouri State at home. Best non-league win is probably Alabama. Against the Top 100, OSU is 2-6. The recent loss at Texas Tech speaks to the Cowboys’ trouble on the road. Oklahoma State also has head-to-head losses against several other bubble teams (Gonzaga, Colorado, Baylor).
MOUNTAIN WEST
Locks: BYU, San Diego State | Should Be In: UNLV | Bubble: Colorado State, New Mexico
  • Colorado State (14-6) | RPI: 49 | SOS: 58 | – At 5-2 in the Mountain West, Colorado State is certainly in the at-large discussion. Solid win at UNLV is a high point, but there are also losses to Hampton and Sam Houston. Inconsistency is a recurring theme. Overall, good wins are still lacking as CSU is 1-2 vs. Top 50 teams. Non-conference wins include So. Mississippi and Ole Miss, but neither of those are NCAA wins at this point. CSU will need to beat San Diego State and or BYU to be a realistic contender.
  • New Mexico (14-7) | RPI: 63 | SOS: 77 | – While the season hasn’t gone as planned, beating BYU at The Pit keeps the Lobos’ NCAA hopes alive. They’ve also beaten Colorado State and Colorado at home. Troubling road losses are to Utah and Wyoming. UNM’s non-conference profile is light, so it’s going to take a strong finish in the Mountain West, but the overall bubble picture is very weak at this point, so who knows. Three of the next four are away from home.
PAC 10
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Washington | Bubble: Arizona, California, Washington State, UCLA
  • Arizona (18-4) | RPI: 21 | SOS: 44 | – The Wildcats have posted a stellar record but are just 1-3 vs. Top 50 teams (beating UCLA at home). There’s nothing from the non-conference resume helping as the best win is Oklahoma. UA also has an ugly loss at Oregon State. Right now, Arizona would make the field, but it’s too early to move them off the bubble. They need to continue to stay at the top of the Pac-10 standings. A tricky three-game road stretch is next.
  • California (12-9) | RPI: 57 | SOS: 14 | – A strong SOS is keeping Cal in the mix as is a 5-4 league mark. That said, the Bears’ lone Top 50 win is at home vs. Temple, and Cal is 1-7 vs. Top 50 RPI teams. That mark will have to improve. Cal is also 8-9 vs. the Top 200 which usually means a no-go for the NCAAs. Next four games are critical.
  • Washington State (15-6) | RPI: 64 | SOS: 84 | – Beating Washington at home Sunday night kept WSU in the current bracket. It was the Cougars’ first Top 50 win (1-4). Other notable wins are Baylor and Gonzaga, but those are bubble teams at this point, too. A 3-3 road mark is acceptable, but WSU needs to up its 5-4 mark in league play. The Pac-10 isn’t deep and WSU needs to finish in the top three to feel safe.
  • UCLA (14-7) | RPI: 47 | SOS: 31 | – The Bruins have a good home win over BYU in their pocket, but that’s only going to last so long. At 6-3 in the league, UCLA needs to stay near the top of the heap. RPI and SOS numbers are good, but UCLA is just 1-4 vs. Top 50 RPI teams and 3-7 vs. Top 100 teams. Neither suggests they’ve done enough. A home date with St. John’s is a big opportunity to post another solid non-conference win.
SEC
Locks: Kentucky | Should Be In: Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt | Bubble: Georgia
  • Georgia (14-6) | RPI: 43 | SOS: 41| – The Bulldogs are talented enough to make the NCAAs, but can they win enough SEC games? An early victory over Kentucky helps, as does a win over UAB – another bubble team. Still, with a 2-6 mark vs. Top 50 teams, Georgia needs to start winning close games. All of the Bulldogs losses have been to teams ranked in the Top 40 of the RPI, so that’s a plus. The schedule is favorable over the next two weeks. There’s also a home game with Xavier that could help.
BEST OF THE REST
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: NONE | Bubble: Butler, Cleveland State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Wichita State, Old Dominion, George Mason, VCU, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, UAB, UTEP, Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, UAB, Utah State
  • Butler (13-8) | RPI: 42 | SOS: 28 | – The NCAA runner-ups have struggled much of the season with the exception of the Diamond Head Classic where the Bulldogs beat Florida State and Washington State. Within the Horizon, BU has a good win over Cleveland State but has fallen off the pace with 3 sub-100 losses, including being swept by Milwaukee. Butler missed chances with Duke, Xavier, and Louisville. Without a lot of wins down the stretch, it’ll be dicey if the Bulldogs fade in the Horizon tournament.
  • Cleveland State (18-3) | RPI: 29 | SOS: 141 | – CSU best wins are Kent State and Wright State – having lost to both Butler and Valparaiso in the Horizon. With an 0-2 mark vs. Top 50 teams, CSU really needs to beat Butler and Valpo at home down the stretch. An outright Horizon title will help, but may not be enough given the so-so SOS numbers.
  • Missouri State (17-5) | RPI: 45 | SOS: 111 | – Failing to win a meaningful non-conference game and a non-league SOS of No. 225 hurts the Bears’ chances. A clear Missouri Valley title would be a huge benefit. MSU does have a win at Wichita State and probably needs to sweep the Shockers. This is a good team that’s light on quality wins.
  • Northern Iowa (16-6) | RPI: 51 | SOS: 108 | – With MVC road wins at Missouri State and Wichita State, we have to include the Panthers. They’ve also beaten fellow bubbler New Mexico. UNI has four sub-100 losses, however, and needs to at least tie for the MVC title to have a realistic chance. The BracketBuster with George Mason is a must-get.
  • Wichita State (17-4) | RPI: 48 | SOS: 109 | – The Shockers let a second-half lead slip away against UConn in Maui and WSU has yet to win a Top 50 RPI game (0-3). In fact, WSU is 0-4 vs. Top 100 teams. A 5-1 record in true road games and being tied atop the MVC standings is keeping WSU on the cutline. That, and no bad losses – something we can’t say about a lot of teams. The BracketBuster matchup with VCU looms large.
  • Memphis (16-5) | RPI: 35 | SOS: 47 | – Somebody has to win Conference USA, and the Tigers are playing better. Winning at UAB helps, although an early tally over Miami-FL is fading some. There’s a bad loss at SMU and a 1-3 mark vs. Top 50 teams. The plus is 5 Top 100 wins, however. It doesn’t help that Memphis was largely non-competitive in losses to Kansas, Tennessee, and Georgetown. Upcoming trip to Gonzaga could be telling.
  • UAB (15-5) | RPI: 37 | SOS: 74 | – The Blazers are a solid team that lacks a marquee win. They are 0-3 vs. Top 50 teams (Duke, Memphis, Georgia). UAB’s best win is probably VCU at home. There’s also losses at Tulsa and Arizona State. Rematch at Memphis is huge as the Blazers can stay at the top of the C-USA standings.
  • Southern Mississippi (14-5) | RPI: 67 | SOS: 140 | – With just two Top 100 wins, So. Miss has to keep plugging along. They can’t afford many more conference losses. A non-conference SOS ranked No. 256 won’t help.
  • UTEP (16-5) | RPI: 62 | SOS: 131 | – Of UTEP’s 16 D-I wins, 14 are to teams ranked outside the Top 100 of the RPI. The best is an early win over Michigan. Add in three sub-100 losses and the Miners are here as a fringe candidate with a 5-2 C-USA mark. Probably have to win the C-USA title for serious consideration.
  • Old Dominion (17-5) | RPI: 31 | SOS: 51 | – Monarchs have a pretty good profile if they can stay at the top of the Colonial standings. Solid non-conference wins include Xavier, Richmond and Clemson. ODU also played Georgetown to within three points. A 7-4 mark vs. Top 100 teams helps. The BracketBuster with Cleveland State could be helpful.
  • VCU (18-5) | RPI: 53 | SOS: 153 | – The Rams currently lead the CAA and may need to stay there to make the Dance. Talented, VCU has a good neutral court win over UCLA. There’s a good loss to Tennessee, but also a miscue at Georgia State. Rematches with ODU and Geo Mason at home are huge, as is a BracketBuster with Wichita State.
  • George Mason (17-5) | RPI: 34 | SOS: 79 | – George Mason lacks a Top 50 RPI win but has won 7 straight and stands alone in second place in the CAA. It’ll take some work, but an outright CAA title could be enough to give the Patriots a fighting chance. A BracketBuster win at Northern Iowa would help, too.
  • Gonzaga (13-8) | RPI: 87 | SOS: 52 | – The Zags have fallen all the way to the bubble thanks to eight losses and a 1-5 mark vs. Top 50 RPI teams. There are some good wins – Baylor, Xavier, Marquette – that could get better. A good SOS always helps. A big issue is being two games back of St. Mary’s in the WCC. Big week for the Zags with a trip to Portland and a home date with Memphis. The losses at Santa Clara and San Francisco are hurting right now.
  • St. Mary’s (16-4) | RPI: 33 | SOS: 104 | – Winning an outright WCC title could be enough as long as St. Mary’s doesn’t lose many more games – especially to teams other than Gonzaga or maybe Portland. An early win over St. John’s helps, but the Gaels were blown out at Vanderbilt and have only the one Top 50 win. At 2-4 vs. Top 100 teams, St. Mary’s is a long way from being a lock.
  • Utah State (20-2) | RPI: 30 | SOS: 164 | – The Aggies have a lot of wins but none to teams ranked in the Top 100 of the RPI. That’s a major hurdle to overcome. USU missed against BYU and Georgetown and has only one Top 100 team left on its schedule – the BracketBuster at St. Mary’s. Lose that and USU may still have to win its conference tournament.

Indiana’s late-run beats No. 11 Michigan State 67-63

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Joey Brunk scored 14 points, including a key layup with 1 minute left to play, and Jerome Hunter made two late free throws Thursday night to close out Indiana’s 67-63 victory over No. 11 Michigan State.

The Hoosiers (15-4, 5-3 Big Ten) have won two straight and four of their last five. It was coach Archie Miller’s 50th win since taking the job three seasons ago.

Cassius Winston had 13 of his 17 points in the second half to lead the Spartans (14-5, 6-2), who lost their third straight in the series.

Michigan State had a chance to force overtime after forcing a turnover, calling timeout and sending Winston through the lane. He flipped the ball to Xavier Tillman for a layup, but the ball rolled off the rim and Hunter grabbed the rebound.

His free throws sealed the win.

The Hoosiers needed everything they had to earn this one after blowing a seven-point halftime lead.

Michigan State rallied by making its first six 3-point attempts in the second half and finally took a 51-48 lead on Rocket Watts’ 3 with 11:05 to go.

It remained a one-possession game the rest of the way.

But Aljami Durham finally gave Indiana what it needed – a 3 with 1:52 left – to break a 60-60 tie. Brunk’s layup made it 65-62.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan State: Trips to Indiana just haven’t been kind to the Spartans lately. On Jan. 12, they were routed at Purdue. This time, they got beat in the closing minutes. Clearly, Michigan State performed closer to expectations than it did at Purdue. But another slow start cost them another game. They will return to Indiana for the conference tournament in March.

Indiana: It doesn’t seem that long ago that the Hoosiers struggled to make shots. But they’ve figured out how to limit the 3s and take advantage of their size and athleticism inside, and it’s made a huge difference. If Indiana’s offense stays in sync this weekend, they just might crack the Top 25 for the first time.

STAT PACK

Michigan State: Aaron Henry had 12 points, while Gabe Brown had 10 points and four 3s. Xavier Tillman finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. … The Spartans had 13 turnovers, but only gave up six points off those turnovers. … Michigan State started the game by missing its first nine 3s. It wound up 9 of 21 from beyond the arc.

Indiana: Trayce Jackson-Davis had 12 points and four rebounds, while Durham finished with 11 points and four 3s. … Race Thompson had four points, two blocks and two steals before leaving the game late in the first half after a hard foul. He sat on the bench the entire second half. … Nine of the 10 Hoosiers who appeared in the first half scored. Only Jerome Hunter, who logged four minutes, was shut out. … NBA star Victor Oladipo attended the game. The two-time All-Star is expected to make his season debut with the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: plays two of its next three on the road, including Sunday’s stop at Minnesota.

Indiana: hosts another ranked opponent, No. 17 Maryland, on Sunday.

Three Things To Know: Marcus Carr beats Ohio State, Indiana wins, Yoeli’s back

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There were no brawls, but there is still plenty to talk about after a full slate of games on Thursday night.

Here are the three things that you need to know:

1. THE BIG TEN STAYS WILD

It was another bonkers night in the toughest conference in the country on Thursday.

Let’s start with the early game.

Ohio State lost for the sixth time in the last seven games, blowing an 11-point second half lead after Marcus Carr, who finished with 21 points, his a three with 3.3 seconds left on the clock to give the Gophers a 62-59 win.

Daniel Oturu added 11 points and six boards, all of which came in the second half, as he shut down Kaleb Wesson to give Minnesota the season-sweep of the Buckeyes.

Minnesota is now 5-4 in the Big Ten and 11-8 on the season, and while this loss drops Ohio State into 12th place in the Big Ten standings, the work that they did in the early part of the season combined with the depth and strength of the conference they play in means that, as of now, this is still a Quad 1 win for Minnesota.

The late game was just as crazy.

No. 11 Michigan State trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half before storming back to take a lead in the final four minutes. But Indiana responded, and caught a lucky break as Xavier Tillman missed a wide-open tip-in with less than a second left on the clock that would have forced overtime.

The Spartans are now 6-2 in the Big Ten, putting them in a tie for first place with Illinois, while Indiana an absolutely enormous win for Archie Miller and this program. With No. 17 Maryland coming to town on Saturday, this was critical for Archie Miller, whose lack of success has gotten the locals riled up.

This should give him some breathing room.

2. YOELI CHILDS IS BACK

It hasn’t really been discussed much nationally to this point, but BYU is a really good, really dangerous team this season when they are at full strength.

The problem has been that they’ve barely been at full strength.

Their best player is Yoeli Childs, a 6-foot-9 center with all the tools that make him an intriguing NBA prospect and, in turn, an absolute monster in the WCC. But he missed the first nine games of the season because of a paperwork issue withdrawing from last year’s NBA draft, and then had to sit out the last four after injuring his finger.

But he’s back now.

And he put everyone on notice with a 26 point, nine rebound outburst in a 74-60 win at Pacific.The Cougars are a very real at-large candidate with the size and shot-making to threaten Gonzaga. Keep an eye on them.

3. HOUSTON SURVIVES UCONN

In one of the weirdest end-of-game sequences I can remember seeing, No. 25 Houston managed to find a way to survive UConn’s upset bid.

Here’s what happened: The Cougars, who trailed for the entire game, finally took the lead late in the second half. They had pushed the lead out to six points, when UConn’s Jalen Gaffney scored with 7.3 seconds left to cut it to four. But after he scored, Houston’s DeJon Jarreau said something to Danny Hurley and was given a technical foul. After Gaffney made both free throws, Jarreau then committed a five-second violation on the ensuing inbounds.

UConn ball.

But this is the strangest part: Since UConn was in foul trouble, they brought in a walk-on — Temi Aiyegbusy — to commit a foul. But no time went of the clock on the turnover, so he had to remain on the court for the UConn possession. The ball ended up in his hands in the corner, and he passed up on a three took a pull-up that missed.

Houston grabbed the rebound, made their free throws, and that was that.

Three Things To Know: Memphis embarrassed; Luka Garza shows out again

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The story of the night in hoops was Zion Williamson’s return to the basketball court.

But there was plenty of action in the college ranks that is worthy of talking about.

Here are the three things that you need to know:

1. No. 20 MEMPHIS LOST BY 40 TO TULSA

That is not a typo.

The 20th-ranked team in the country went into Tulsa, Okla., and lost to the Golden Hurricane, 80-40. Tulsa was up 40-17 at halftime. This was a butt-whooping that was so bad that all Tulsa needed to do was score a single point in the second half and they would have been able to get the win.

Memphis shot 28 percent from the floor. They were 2-for-21 from three. They finished the night with more turnovers (20) and fouls (22) than field goals (16). This was the worst loss that a top 25 team has suffered against a ranked team in 27 years, since UConn beat then-No. 12 Virginia by 41 points.

For Tulsa, this is a massive, massive win. They are currently sitting all alone in first place in the American standings, a half-game up on Houston.

So good for Frank Haith.

But the story here is Memphis, because the Tigers, considered title contenders before the season began, look anything-but right now.

“We let our defense dictate our offense,” head coach Penny Hardaway told reporters after the game. “We didn’t play any defense today. I think today was the first day we’ve done that ll year. I don’t know if guys overlooked Tulsa because of the name. We did our due diligence as a coaching staff to let them know what was going to happen with the matchup zone and how hard they play.

“It’s pretty embarrassing.”

2. LUKA GARZA WENT NUTS AGAIN

If it seems like Garza is putting up monster numbers every games, it’s because he is.

On Wednesday night, the Hawkeyes welcomed newly-ranked Rutgers to campus and sent them home with an entertaining, hard-fought, 85-80 win. And Garza was the star of the show. He finished with 28 points, 13 boards, four blocks and two steals in the win, anchoring the paint as Iowa out-scored Rutgers 47-37 in the second half.

The big fella is now averaging 23 points and 10.5 boards.

Iowa has now won four straight games to move into a tie for third in the Big Ten standings — with Rutgers, among others — and they have won eight straight games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They are a third of the way through a three-game homestand as well.

3. VIRGINIA TECH TAKES DOWN NORTH CAROLINA

Virginia Tech kept up their push to finish as the fourth-best team in the ACC with a 79-77 double-overtime win over North Carolina.

The Hokies are now 14-5 overall and 5-3 in the ACC, but the more interesting story might actually be the Tar Heels.

They are 8-10 on the season and 1-6 in the ACC. They have been a disaster for the last month, but there may be some reinforcements on the way in the shape of Cole Anthony. If he returns and the Tar Heels, who are 2-7 in his absence but have wins over Alabama and Oregon with him, get things back on the right track, they are likely going to find themselves in an incredibly awkward situation on Selection Sunday.

Big 12 hands down Kansas-Kansas State fight suspensions

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The Big 12 handed down suspensions to four Kansas and Kansas State players for their role in the fight that occurred in Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.

Silvio De Sousa, who tried to fight three different Kansas State players and picked up a stool during the melee, received a 12 game suspension from the conference. David McCormack, who went into the stands to confront James Love III, received a two game suspension. Love was given eight games for part in the fight, while Antonio Gordon, the freshman that turned a messy situation into a fight, was hit with a three game suspension.

“This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated and these suspensions reflect the severity of last evening’s events,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  “I am appreciative of the cooperation of both institutions in resolving this matter.”

In the final seconds on Tuesday night, after DaJuan Gordon stole the ball from him at halfcourt, De Sousa blocked Gordon’s shot and towered over him. That sparked an incident that turned into a full-fledged brawl, as De Sousa threw punches at three different players on Kansas State before picking up a stool as the fight spilled into the handicapped section of Kansas seating.

Self called the fight “an embarrassment” after the game, adding on Wednesday that “we are disappointed in [De Sousa’s] actions and there is no place in the game for that behavior.”

McCormack will be eligible to return for Kansas on Feb. 1st when they play Texas Tech at home. De Sousa will be available to play in the final game of the regular season at Texas Tech. Gordon can return on Feb. 3rd, when the Wildcats host Baylor, while Love will be out until late February. But he has played just one game and two minutes on the season, so there is no clear indication of when he will actually put on a Kansas State jersey again.

The four most important questions after Kansas-Kansas State fight

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Very other sport can treat brawls like comedy, and I think it’s about time that we did the same for basketball.

So let’s take a look at the four funniest moments from last night’s Kansas-Kansas State fight. Shouts to Jomboy:

1. IS THE KANSAS MASCOT OK?

Throughout the entire fight, the mascot is just in utter disbelief. He cannot believe what he just saw, and he certainly cannot be consoled:

2. CAN JEREMY CASE START AT LINEBACKER FOR KU’S FOOTBALL TEAM?

Case is the video coordinator for Kansas. He’s also a former Kansas point guard. He knows what this rivalry is all about, and he also is not going to be afraid to get in the middle of it.

Case starts out on the wrong side of the melee:

But when he sees De Sousa and Love squaring up and throwing punches, he intervenes by throwing himself into a player six inches taller than him:

3. WHAT HAPPENED TO JAMES LOVE III’S SHOE?

James Love the third has played in exactly one game this season. He has spent more time on the court fighting that he has actually playing, but he still found a way to get into the middle of this fight and, in the process, lost his shoe:

He’s not dressed for the game.

Did he bring an extra pair of shoes? Did he have to head back onto the bus without a shoe on this right foot? So many questions, so few answers.

4. WHO IS THE MAN IN THE ORANGE HAT?

He’s some kind of photographer.

He got his shot, that’s for sure: